Scottish Football: Anxious Rangers

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THERE are no inferior teams in the league stages of the European Cup, but as Rangers are about to find out, the main difference between themselves and Club Bruges on Wednesday could be the quality of players available on the night, writes David McKinney.

While some sections of the Rangers support naively expect their team to turn up and take two points at the Olympia Stadium, Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, has been handicapped by injuries which could deprive him of five players.

Rangers established an unbeaten record of 39 games with Saturday's 2-0 Premier Division win over Heart of Midlothian, but Ian Ferguson and John Brown left the Ibrox pitch early because of injury and now compete with Richard Gough, Trevor Steven and Gary Stevens for use of the treatment table.

'I just don't know who will be fit and it could be a last-minute job,' said Smith, who will view the return of Ian Durrant against Bruges as welcomed but scant consolation.

For Ally McCoist, at least, it was business as usual, his 30th League goal of the season scored in the 11th minute helping Rangers open a lead of 11 points over Aberdeen, whose game against Partick Thistle was postponed due to snow.

Frank McAvennie was also in celebratory mood. A matter of hours after signing a contract with Celtic until the end of May he scored at Falkirk. A double from Andy Payton - the last coming in the 89th minute - helped Celtic exact some measure of revenge over the team who ended their Scottish Cup ambitions. Celtic's travelling support seem to be dwindling, the gate at Brockville being only 8,500.

Duncan Ferguson continued his rehabilitation with Dundee United, scoring the only goal in the Dundee derby at Tannadice.